Obama’s Moment?

In case you missed President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress last night, or have only seen 30 second clips of it on cable news, here’s the whole thing via C-SPAN.

Apparently, Sean Hannity watched an entirely different speech, claiming that Obama “sounded less like the president of the United States and more like a primary candidate standing on a soap box at the Iowa State Fair, failing wildly at his opponents in the desperate hope that one his charges will, you know, get replayed on the 10 o’clock news in Dubuque.”

Meanwhile, over at the Real News, a couple of sane people discuss the speech, its implications and whether it was sufficient to pull the healthcare debate out of its month-long tailspin into the realm of febrile dementia.



Filed under Health Care & Medicine, Obama

13 responses to “Obama’s Moment?

  1. Unfortunately, Obama’s speech stalls on one key point — the Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

    Why is it they can’t pass their own legislation, again?

  2. Yeah, I watched that the other day.

    Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats really a “big tent” with any different factions, from hard-left progressives through triangulating centrists to fiscal (and even some social) conservatives. Getting them to march in unison on a perennially contentious issue like healthcare is no easy matter. Especially not when a good number of them (Baucus, Conrad, et. al) are awash in millions of dollars from health insurance lobbyists, big Pharma and so on.

  3. “a good number of them (Baucus, Conrad, et. al) are awash in millions of dollars from health insurance lobbyists, big Pharma and so on”

    it’s not merely a matter of lucre, and it’s surely not that they find it “too repugnant to vote for”, as mccotter tries to spin it. it’s a large bill, which addresses a broad range of issues. for instance, dianne feinstein has a problem with the expansion of medicaid; who’s to pay for the expansion, fed or states (currently, it’s a 50/50 deal)? doesn’t mean she finds the bill “repugnant”.


  4. Hmmmm. Now that someone mentions that more specifically, “Repugnant” may be a strong word. Clearly a rhetorical flourish that should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Another good point that Kevron raises here is the size of the bill. I’m not certain if the Obama package is meant to be an omnibus package of some sort, but I think another factor at play here is the size of the bill.

    1000+ pages? Who expects ordinary American citizens to be able to find the time to thumb through that whole thing?

    It should be written into the constitution (in Canada and the United States) that bills exceeding 100 pages are unconstitutional. A bill like Obama’s health care package should have been passed as numerous smaller bills. It would have given Americans a much better chance of being able to read the entire bill, and far less effective space for people to insert random (often fictional) objections.

    Who knows? In this particular case Obama may have made much faster progress — passing universal coverage for people under the age of 18 (something a Republican I met during a recent trip to Texas told me many Republicans would support) and this as such. Perhaps the more contentious issues — such as pharmaceuticals — would have still been troublesome, but at least Obama could have passed portions of his package instead of nothing.

  5. I believe the Bill (can’t remember the number offhand) put forward for the single-payer proposal was 32 pages. 🙂

    I’ve long had a problem with enormous bills (especially omnibus ones), most of which are unfathomable gibberish. At least to ordinary humans. Try reading the Federal Register or the Canada Gazette sometime… it’s quite a chore to stay awake.

  6. and there’s where i hope mcotter is right; that this will ultimately lead to a single-payer system.


  7. “‘Repugnant’ may be a strong word.”

    buyer’s remorse?


  8. …And after a brief flirtation with lucidity, Kevron reverts to his typically-useless former self.

    Sadly, that was too good to last.

    Obama has at least two bills before Congress and the Senate that exceed 1,000 pages in length. 32 pages? Not even close.

  9. I was referring to Conyers’s single-payer bill (H.R. 676) in the last Congress. Anthony Weiner is expected to offer one this year, but I don’t believe he has yet… or it’s floating around some committee or other.

  10. Oh, I see. OK.

    But, then again, the Obama plan isn’t supposed to be single-payer health care.

    Then again, when you really think about it, is there really any such thing as single-payer health care that involves the government?

  11. PR — I only raised the point to draw a relative comparison between the simplicity of the single-payer model of health insurance and the complexity involved in the convoluted, hybridized (some might say “bastardized”) iterations presently being pondered, debated and amended on the fly, by Congress.

    Yes, I know that Obama’s plan(s) — such as it/they are — don’t include single payer, as that was ruled off the table from the outset, but that wasn’t my point. I was specifically addressing your complaint about the enormous size and scope of the proposed legislative bills now being considered and just throwing that out there as a contrasting reference.

    Then again, when you really think about it, is there really any such thing as single-payer health care that involves the government?

    Then again? Well of course not. Who was contending otherwise? The government IS the single-payer, so naturally they’re “involved” to that extent at least.

  12. mccotter greatly overstates the issue, you present his view, i expose the hyperbole, you concede….

    suck it, twats.


  13. Evidently Kevron has failed to recognize a key element of hyperbole — within McCotter’s context, there would have to be a strong element of truth to his statement for it to be an exaggeration (as opposed to a falsehood).

    That being said, Kevron, perhaps you’d like to elaborate for us here: even if “repugnant” is a hyperbole, would it not seem that Democrats have declined to support Obama’s reform package?

    It would seem that way to anyone with a grasp on reality.

    Beyond that, RT,

    My comments about the size of the bill aren’t meant as a complaint, but actually as a constructive criticism. I like most of the ideas represented by Obama’s package, and have little issue with the content of the bill.

    I just think that any issue large enough to make it necessary to pass a 1,000-page bill is complex enough for there to be numerous factors involved. Any process that maximizes the opportunity to examine those factors is a bonus in my mind.

    Forcing Obama to introduce his reform in bills smaller than 100 pages would essentially allow the Senate and Congress to “customize the reform”, and make it much easier to amend the package.

    It wouldn’t make it any easier to gain support from recalcitrant Republcians or Democrats. But it would make it easier to get reluctant moderates from each party on side.

    As for the “single payer” comment, I just wanted to remind all of us that, when the government is involved in health care, “single payer” actually means that everyone pays.

    I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but let’s just remind ourselves to be realistic about the frame of the debate.

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